Muharram 2024: What is Ashura? Date of Ashura 1446 in Saudi Arabia, India, UAE, US, UK, Iran, other countries this year

Muharram 2024: What is Ashura? Date of Ashura 1446 in Saudi Arabia, India, UAE, US, UK, Iran, other countries this year

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Muharram, one of the most sacred months in Islam after Ramadan, marks the beginning of the lunar calendar which Muslims follow. It is the first month in Islamic calendar followed by the lunar months of Safar, Rabi-al-Thani, Jumada al-Awwal, Jumada ath-Thaniyah, Rajab, Shaban, Ramadan, Shawwal, Zu al-Qadah (or Dhul Qadah) and Zu al-Hijjah (or Zil Hijjah/Dhul Hijjah).

The Islamic calendar is based on a lunar cycle, unlike the Gregorian calendar which is based on the sun hence, while the Gregorian calendar has 30 or 31 days in a month, a month in lunar calendar lasts for 29 or 30 days, depending on the moon sighting. A new month begins when the new moon or the crescent moon is sighted on the 29th day of the ongoing month and if it is not sighted on 29th, the ongoing month completes 30 days and a new month starts the next day.

The word Muharram means ‘not permitted’ or ‘forbidden’ hence, Muslims are prohibited from taking part in activities like warfare and use it as a period of prayer and reflection. It was also in this holy month that Prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina.

What is Ashura?

The Islamic New Year, also known as Al Hijri or Arabic New Year, is celebrated on the first day of Muharram but the 10th day of the month, known as Ashura, is mourned by Muslims in the remembrance of the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hussain Ibn Ali in Karbala.

Date of Ashura:

Unlike the Gregorian calendar that consists of 365 days, Islamic calendar has about 354 days divided into 12 months and depends on the sighting of the crescent moon which varies from country to country. This year, the Islamic New Year is referred to as Hijri 1446 AH (Anno Hegirae in Latin or the year of the Hijra).

This means that it has been 1446 years since Prophet Mohammed's migration from Mecca to Medina. This year, Muslims across United Kingdom, Canada, USA and those in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain and other Arab states marked the onset of the New Islamic Year 1446 AH on Sunday July 07, 2024, which was the first day of the Holy Month of Muharram al Haram.

Hence, Ashura in these countries will be marked on July 07, 2024. Muslims in India marked the start of the Islamic New Year 1446 AH on Monday July 08, 2024 and Youm-e-Ashura on August 18, 2024.

Similar announcements are made by religious authorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh after the Muharram moon sighting.

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